I know it’s been a tough week, little Obamaites. You’ve been feeling … unstimulated.
But think of it this way — the drama in the Senate drove Tom Daschle completely out of the news. In a week or so, nobody will even remember that he was nominated for anything.
Perk up and feel free to ask questions:
How could so many cabinet nominees get into trouble? The Obama transition team was supposed to be so organized! Did their seven-page questionnaire ask about Facebook pages but not tax liens?
They did ask about tax liens, yet miraculously still wound up with two candidates who had them. It’s possible one or both of them didn’t even know. Maybe this goes to show that there are tax liens lurking everywhere, like cold germs. No one is immune. There could be one in your closet at this very moment, just waiting for you to go to sleep so it can pounce.
Wasn’t Tom Daschle crucial for health care reform? What are they going to do without him?
We have to get past the idea that transformative change requires one great cabinet member to steer it. That’s the kind of thinking that got us Donald Rumsfeld. Tom Daschle always seemed like a lovely man, but the idea that only he could get a big, important, dramatic health care reform through the Senate seems a little flawed, given the fact that he never got any big, important, dramatic reforms through the Senate when he was the actual majority leader.
By Gail Collins
The New York Times
I dropped out of school for a semester to campaign for Barack Obama. And now I’m asking myself whether I spent four months living with my aunt and going door to door in Dayton, Ohio, just so we could have a stimulus plan written by a bunch of moderate Republicans and conservative Democrats in the Senate.
I don’t know how many times we need to go over this, but this is actually a real-life version of what Obama promised during the campaign. Didn’t you jump up and cheer when your guy promised that he’d get Republicans and Democrats to work together?
I wanted them to work together on global warming, not on cutting money for Head Start out of the stimulus.
And Obama feels your pain. He always said the bipartisan path was going to be rocky, but this week the going was so rough that the great trailer-tractor of stimulus blew out several tires on the shoals of post-partisanism. It was embarrassing — the President of the United States held White House negotiations with people who had already announced that they had no intention of voting for his bill. He let minority-party subleaders lecture him about what’s wrong with redistribution of wealth. He had a bipartisan Super Bowl party! But he still wound up cooling his heels, waiting for word from the newly hatched moderate caucus on what would happen next. This is the group that was led by Susan Collins of Maine. In November, we apparently elected Collins and her fellow Maine Republican, Olympia Snowe, to help run the country. And you wasted all that time thinking about Joe Biden.
Why did Obama nominate Senator Judd Gregg to be commerce secretary? He’s not just a Republican; he isn’t even that moderate. And he voted to eliminate the Commerce Department!
It’s not exactly a big gamble. Although the Commerce Department has many important duties, like supervising the patent office, it’s sort of like an old attic where people throw stuff that doesn’t fit anyplace else. And while there have been some sterling commerce secretaries, it has been run for lengthy periods of time by complete morons and the nation didn’t seem to suffer appreciably.
Even when I get irked with Obama, I still want to help him. Isn’t there something people can do?
This weekend the Obama army is going to rise again, creating a nation of stimulus house parties, made up of people who would like nothing more than to spend their days off talking about the administration’s economic plan. There’s a Mommies, Daddies and Wee Ones Gathering in Brighton, Colo. (“We will have kid crafts, videos, juice, snacks and coffee.”) And a gathering called “What Happened to My Retirement Nest Egg?” is scheduled for Watsonville, Calif. (“We’ll break out the wine and cheese.”)
Or, for sterner spirits, there’s the Economic System Redesign Leadership Meeting in Manhattan, which is sponsored by the Corporate Social Responsibility Advocates for Obama, the Social Innovators for Obama and the Sustainability Activists for Obama. (“Please bring your own lunch or eat before coming.”)
I still miss the way it was before the election, when everything seemed clearer.
Face it, you miss George W. Bush. Ever since he slunk off the scene, things have gotten all vague and squishy. You want somebody to rally against and Mitch McConnell is not an adequate substitute, even if he does look a little bit like the groundhog that assaulted the mayor of New York City this week.
Really, everybody’s getting so cranky.